Plenty of things can make you sweat — hot weather on a summer day, strenuous physical activity or feeling stressed out. But why do you smell worse when you're stressed compared to after a workout or an afternoon in the sun? What you may not know is that there are three different kinds of sweat — stress, heat and activity — and they come from different glands in your body.
"Compared to heat and activity sweat (salt water that comes from eccrine glands), odor from stress sweat from the apocrine glands smells worse because it contains food for the bacteria on our skin," said Dr. Maiysha D. Jones, Principal Scientist, North America Personal Care at Procter and Gamble. "When bacteria consume the fat and proteins in stress sweat, they produce foul-smelling gases that we perceive as body odour.”
So what can you do to cut down on all three types of sweat, especially the smelliest stress sweat? Here are some tips to help you stay cool in the summer heat and conquer your stress so you can be at your best, no matter what you're doing:
Keep your cool while outside in the summer sun: As the temps start heating up, make sure not to overdo it, especially if you're outdoors for a long period of time. Remember to stay hydrated and keep water handy. If possible, cool your body down with a dip in the pool — even running cold water on your face can help you feel cooler.
Be careful when exercising in the heat: It's easy to get overheated when you're working out, playing sports or doing yard work during the warmer months, so it’s important to safeguard your health while doing activities outside. Try to work out in the early morning or late evening to avoid the hottest times of the day and choose moisture-wicking clothing to keep you cool.
Take mindful steps to reduce stress: Everyone experiences stress sometimes, whether due to work demands, unexpected events or everyday obligations. Take the time to replenish your energy and try stress-relieving activities such as deep breathing, unplugging from social media or computer screens, listening to music, or spending time outdoors to enjoy nature.
"While most of us can't avoid sweating altogether, we can stay protected with products that keep us feeling confident," added Jones. "